Support for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum continues pour in since it reopened last month. Former Major League pitcher CC Sabathia and the Major League Baseball Players Association joined forces with the NLBM and iconic lifestyle brand, Roots of Fight, by creating a clothing line dedicated to the players who played in the Negro Leagues, which was created 100 years ago.
Prices for the clothes range from $40 to $350 and will debut exclusively on RootsOfFight.com.
Sabathia also will be the creative director of the clothing line. In fact, he designed the program and apparel to include the phrase "They Played for Us" to represent the lasting influence Negro Leagues players have had on today's game and popular culture.
The phrase is meant to amplify the magnitude of the impact black players of yesteryear have had on today's players. They played for us, so we can … will appear on the apparel, giving individuals a chance to finish the sentence with a personalized message of gratitude.
"Anything we do in alignment [with CC] and the Players Association, it's significant to us," Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick said. "And then you throw in a great apparel maker like Roots of Fight, this is a collaboration that we are excited about. We just appreciate what CC is doing to champion this cause. He has been a longtime friend and supporter of the Negro Leagues going back to his days with the Cleveland Indians."
Featuring a full range of T-shirts, hoodies, two-tone baseball shirts, shorts and expanding to fleece and jackets in the fall/winter, the collection was designed and curated to preserve the Negro Leagues' rich history and celebrate the pioneers who authored it. The first capsule of the collection will pay tribute to the Negro League Centennial, as well as the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, who famously broke the color barrier in the Major Leagues in 1947.
A portion of proceeds from all sales will benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's efforts to preserve and celebrate the rich history of African American baseball and its significance in the social advancement of America at large. The museum is located on East 18th Street, between Vine and Highland, just across from the Gem Theater in Kansas City. There will be limited hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT on Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday) and increased sanitizing every day, and occupancy will be limited to 150-200 people at a time.
The NLBM is a privately funded, non-profit organization; annually renewing memberships to support the museum are available ranging from $25 to $1,000. Membership includes free admission for the year, a 10 percent discount on merchandise from the NLBM Extra Inning Store and advance information on special events. Members also receive a gift and additional benefits at each level of support.
Roots of Fight will be donating a portion of sales from this program and their entire site to the NAACP, Black Lives Matter and other initiatives to help fight racial inequality and injustice. ROF has committed a minimum of $50,000 for 2020 to these causes. Also, when legendary former players are featured in the collection, a portion of proceeds will also go directly to them or their estates.